The Stream, July 17: Delayed Monsoon Is Bad News for 300 Million Indians

Water Shortages
India’s monsoon has so far delivered 36 percent less rain than average, and reservoir levels are below their 10-year averages, according to water officials, Bloomberg News reported. If the monsoon continues to perform poorly and dry conditions are compounded by an El Nino weather event, 333 million people in six states could face water cuts next spring.

Fall and winter rains in South Australia could decline 40 percent by the end of the century, according to a study published in the journal Nature, the Guardian reported. The reduction in rainfall will require cities like Perth, which has already faced declines in its water supply, to find alternative water sources, scientists say.

Fracking and coal mining are threatening South Africa’s water security, warned conservation organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) after an address by the country’s president supporting the expansion of hydraulic fracturing, Times Live reported. The president’s address also included plans for expanding South Africa’s agricultural sector, which could similarly be constrained by water.

The world is reaching an era of “peak soil”, meaning soils in many regions are being degraded by intensive agricultural practices and will be less productive in the future, Reuters reported. Soils are losing their ability to hold water and nutrients and are subject to erosion, which could eventually lead to desertification in some areas.

Water Conservation
The severe drought in California has become a testing ground for water conservation technology, which is making use of the “Internet of Things” to track parameters like soil moisture, heat, and plant types, Forbes reported. Systems then use these measurements to improve irrigation efficiency, planning the best time to water and how much water to apply.

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